Americans Aren't Buying More Mercedes-Benz Vehicles, but Mercedes-AMG? That's Another Story

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
americans arent buying more mercedes benz vehicles but mercedes amg thats another

GMC has its Denali sub-brand, and Buick now has its Avenir, but German premium marques aren’t in need of added luxury. Extra horsepower and speed earns that inflated sticker price.

Mercedes-Benz’s AMG sub-brand isn’t the small stable of tuned performance cars it once was. The automaker’s made it painfully clear it wants to AMG all the things, with the brand’s large crop of SUVs (and SUV “coupes”) serving as the latest canvas for AMG’s brushstrokes. A lineup that began the current year with 34 models will likely celebrate New Year’s Eve with 42.

The folks at Mercedes-Benz USA are already reaping the reward.

That’s because, while U.S. buyers aren’t poised to buy more Mercedes-Benz models than they did last year (barring a boffo December), they’re definitely likely to pick up more Mercedes-AMG models.

Through the end of November, Mercedes-Benz sold 332,043 luxury vehicles in the United States, some 30,116 of which carried the AMG badge, Automotive News reports. Some quick math tells us AMG’s share amounts to 9.97 percent of the company’s U.S. volume. Let’s round that up to an even 10 percent.

AMG’s growth over the past few years is nothing short of impressive. In 2015, AMG sales made up 5 percent of Mercedes-Benz USA’s volume. Last year, its share rose to 6.8 percent. Like Denali and Avenir, the goal with AMG — besides added prestige and good PR — is the sale of more higher-margin vehicles to keep the company’s accountants happy. That’s a solid game plan in a contracting market.

Year-to-date, Mercedes-Benz sales have dropped 2 percent.

Mercedes-AMG head Tobias Moers credits a broad lineup of lower-end 43 series models for the sub-brand’s American success. He added, however, that mid-pack “63” models have also seen a sales increase.

There’s big changes in store for 2018, as Mercedes-AMG is expected to release its 53 series — a departure for the sub-brand, in that the new crop utilizes electrification for added performance and fuel economy. AMG 53 models adopt a new 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six married to a 48-volt mild hybrid system. It’s part of a long-term plan to gradually make the sub-brand “more and more electric,” something promised by Daimler R&D head Ola Källenius earlier this year.

[Image: Daimler AG]

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  • Sigivald Sigivald on Dec 18, 2017

    Where's my Sprinter or Metris AMG?!

  • Cbrworm Cbrworm on Dec 19, 2017

    The AMG branding is more than just a badge or label. Typically it includes nicer wheels, more aggressive body molding, better brakes, and stiffer suspension. So, yes, you are paying more for a trim line, but there is more value to it than just the label. It's like getting a Park Avenue Ultra with the FE3 suspension (I'm making these up)

  • Jeff S We have had so many article about gas wars. A lighter subject on gas wars might be the scene from Blazing Saddles where the cowboys were around the campfire and how their gas contributed to global warming or was it just natural gas.
  • Jeff S We all have issues some big and most not so big. Better to be alive and face the issues than to be dead and not have the opportunity to face them.
  • NJRide Now more than ever, the US needs a brand selling cheaper cars. I know the old adage that a "good used car" is the best affordable transportation, but there has to be someone willing to challenge the $45k average gas crossover or $60k electric one that has priced out many working and middle class people from the market. So I think Mitsu actually may be onto something. Call me crazy but I think if they came up with a decent sedan in the Civic space but maybe for $19-20k as opposed to $25 they might get some traction there's still some people who prefer a sedan.However, I just compared a Trailblazer on Edmunds to an Outlander Sport. Virtually same size, the Trailblazer has heated seats, keyless ignition and satellite radio and better fuel economy for almost same price as the Mitsu. Plus a fresher body and a normal dealer network. This has always been the challenge off brands have had. Mitsu probably would have to come in $2-3k less than the Chevy unless they can finance more readily to the subprime crowd.
  • MaintenanceCosts At least on the US West Coast, Waze is perfectly happy to send cut-through drivers down residential streets or to disregard peak-hour turn or travel restrictions. I hope if it's going to be standard equipment the company starts taking a more responsible approach.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm more curious about the effect (if any) on battery lifetime than range. Drawing current faster creates more heat and if that heat is not promptly drawn away it could affect life of the cells.I agree this sort of thing can make sense as a one-time option but is consumer-hostile as a subscription.
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